Despite recent medical advances, a child’s Health is the most worrying aspect of having a baby today ahead of education as a secondary concern and social development and behaviour closely followed.
New research by The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, which surveyed over 2,300 parents, found that 68 per cent of parents reported that their child’s Health worried them the most with education the primary worry for only 16 per cent of parents.
The results lay bare the psychological impact of waiting for diagnosis and treatment of their children, with nearly half of Parents questioned stating that it affected the quality of their lives.
Of those affected, 71 per cent had feelings of anxiety and 64 per cent complained of a lack of sleep. Over a fifth even noted that it had impacted on their relationship with their partner and 20 per cent said it distracted them from work.
Of course when a child is ill it can be a very worrying time for parents, especially if it involves multiple trips to and from the doctor or hospital."
The research also highlights that waiting for a diagnosis or treatment also affected their child beyond just the physical with nearly half of all Parents highlighting that their children were upset, over a third noting that they became more difficult to look after and a fifth suggesting it created childcare difficulties as they could not send their children to nursery.
Ahmed Massoud, a Paediatric Consultant from the Portland Hospital for Women and children, said: “Of course when a child is ill it can be a very worrying time for parents, especially if it involves multiple trips to and from the doctor or hospital.
"children like familiarity and any change can be unsettling. For parents, it is often the uncertainty which is most stressful. Fortunately, children are remarkably resilient and generally recover quickly from common childhood illnesses.”
Other findings revealed that over half of parents were satisfied with the speed at which their child was successfully treated. Reasons for dissatisfaction were driven by concerns amongst 46 per cent of parents that their child’s condition was seen as a low priority or not taken seriously.
The survey also suggests that incidence of childhood eczema is rising significantly. Although based on self-reporting, over half of all parents noted that their children had suffered from the condition. Up until now it has been estimated that around one in five children in the UK suffer from eczema.
George Du Toit, a Paediatric Consultant Allergist at The Portland Hospital, said: “Eczema has been on the increase for some time – the high rates of eczema reported in this survey reflect this. Eczema is a troublesome chronic condition which may range in severity from mild to severe.
"In childhood it is often associated with food allergy and may herald the start of the 'allergic march' towards the development of asthma and hay-fever. This survey confirms that childhood illness, such as allergic conditions, may have significant effects on children and their families so it’s definitely worth having these assessed early on in life.”
Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM